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2015-10-01

Two Senate candidates visit

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Reed Williams of Burnet spoke with Bandera County Judge Richard Evans.

Jon Cobb of Bee Cave speaks with a member of the BCRW.



Two of the four - or possibly more - candidates vying for Texas Senate District 24 spoke to members and guests of the Bandera County Republican Women at the Friday, Sept. 11, monthly meeting.
Current State Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay has chosen not to run for another term. He was first elected to the office in 1996 to represent Bandera, Bell, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, Mills and San Saba counties, as well as portions of Taylor and Travis counties. Longtime elected Bandera County officials have never met Fraser on their home turf.
However, happily, State Senate candidates Jon Cobb and Reed Williams, as well as a representative from the campaign of Dr. Dawn Buckingham, made it to this corner of the district - although Williams cautioned, "District 24 includes 17 counties and we may not always be able to make it to your meetings." It seems Brownwood Republicans also convene the second Tuesday of each month - and apparently Brownwood boasts more voters.
Jon Cobb
A fifth generation Texan, Cobb was raised in San Marcos in a tight-knit military family. After graduating from San Marcos High School, he became the third generation of his family to attend and graduate from Texas A&M.
An entrepreneur and small business owner, Cobb owns a home construction company and works primarily in the Austin area. According to his website, www.cobbfortexas.com, throughout his business career, Cobb has continually strived "to preserve and expand Texas' economic model, affording hard-working families an opportunity to open a business and share in the growth that helps strengthen this state and its communities."
Cobb lives in Bee Cave with his wife, Ashley, and the couple's two young children, Claire and Chevis.
'Constitutional
conservative'
Describing himself as a "Constitutional conservative," Cobb ventured that those attending the BCRW meeting "were probably in 100 percent agreement with my views on limited government, adhering to the rights enshrined in the Constitution, the Second Amendment, border security and the sanctity of life."
Calling border security, "probably the defining issue of this generation," he said, "We have to seal the border first before we take any further steps with immigration."
Another of Cobb's major points was reconstructing Texas' infrastructure. "Major structural issues are not being addressed," he said. "The Legislature has shifted the tax burden from the state level to county and city levels and we are lagging significantly behind with roads and bridges. Texas has always been known for its roads. We need to reinvest in infrastructure."
Cobb then identified himself as being a champion of rural Texas - of which Bandera County is a prime example - and stressed the importance that water will play in future Legislative sessions. "Texas Senate District 24 is a rural district," he said.
Cobb added, "Austin, San Antonio, San Marcos and Fort Worth won't run out of water. However, last year Llano was two weeks away from having to truck in water while Austin residents were watering their St. Augustine grass on ball parks." He concluded, "The fight for Texas is a fight for rural Texas. That's the true Texas. It's not about Austin and San Antonio."
Reed Williams
A fifth generation Texan, Williams was raised in Gatesville. After graduating from Gatesville High School, he earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. While attending graduate business school at UT Austin, Williams was commissioned in the Army Reserves and served for eight years in the Quartermaster Corps.
Williams' professional career was in the petroleum refining and marketing industry. In 2006, he and his wife of 30 years, Joan, retired to Burnet County where they now operate a vineyard.
Additionally, along the way - although it is not acknowledged on his website www.reedwilliams.com - Williams served on the San Antonio City Council and on the SAWS (San Antonio Water System) Board of Trustees. He also worked on the Vista Ridge Project for the City of San Antonio.
Water is 'critical key'
Not surprisingly, Williams portended water as a "critical key to economic development." Regarding unfunded mandates, which he called "untenable," Williams noted that, to keep taxes low, the Legislature in Austin capped the tax rate and sent down unfunded mandates to county governments.
"However, if we work together, we can make this a phenomenal part of Texas," he concluded.
For more on Williams, reference an article by Gilbert Garcia and published in the August 4 edition of the San Antonio Express-News entitled: "Williams election to the Senate would be a bonus for San Antonio." Among other interesting tidbits, the article stated that Williams "... will be highly attuned to any legislation concerning this community's needs."
Dr. Dawn Buckingham
A seventh generation Texan, Dr. Dawn Buckingham, practices as an oculoplastic and reconstructive surgeon with a specialty in eyelid reconstruction and improving vision.
While attending college at UT Austin, Buckingham lived at her childhood home, working worked two jobs to pay for her education. As a result, she graduated debt-free - and Magna Cum Laude.
During college, she met her husband of 23 years, Ed. The couple received their medical degrees from the Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
A former trustee on the Lake Travis ISD School Board, she currently holds a gubernatorial appointment as the vice chairman of the State Board of Educator Certification. Additionally, Buckingham has served as the Lieutenant Governor's appointee on the Sunset Commission.
Speaking for Buckingham was her campaign staffer Shane Birdwell. Her priorities include:
• Cutting wasteful spending and lowering taxes because as Birdwell said, "Dawn always says, 'Texas has a spending problem, not a revenue problem'."
• Sealing the border and eradicating sanctuary cities
• Empowering parents in the education of their children
• Protecting the unborn and standing up for life
• Enacting healthcare reform that puts patients first
Q&A
During a question and answer session, Cobb called debt on both the federal, state and local levels staggering. "Texas legislators cut taxes but to what end? Right now it's just smoke and mirrors."
Concurring, Williams added, "We won't get a handle on the debt until we stop doing things we don't need to be doing. Just stop it."
In response to a query on zero based budgeting, Williams said the problem is that officials don't take the time for it and "don't know where zero is in the first place. A bureaucrat's job is not to get the job done, but to keep his job in the first place."
Calling zero based budgeting "critically important," Cobb said that during his 16 years in construction, "Every year we start budgeting at zero. We need a businessperson in Austin otherwise spending we never be cut because all budgets are based on last year's budget."
In conclusion, Cobb thanked the BCRW for giving him a chance to speak, noting, "Rural Texas has been abandoned."
President Linda James offered a cautionary promise to the candidates, "Don't forget us and we won't forget you."